Happy First Day of Spring

Spring is finally here, though you wouldn’t really know it by looking outside.  It’s very dark and dreary with a fine rain falling on the layer of sleet that fell yesterday.  Hopefully, the weather will start improving, the buds will start popping up and Mother Nature will show her true beauty in all the flowers and green leaves.  I’m looking forward to the snow going away!

I’m also hoping that I won’t need all the winter woolies anymore.  Though, that will make me kinda sad as I just finished a pair of fingered gloves for myself.  I’m loving the colors (black, red, green with a hint of white and blue) and they match my winter coat and hat perfectly (well, the black and bright green do anyway), but I’m kinda sad that while I made them to fit me perfectly, they have stretched a bit with wearing them a few times and now feel like they are floating on my hands.  They are still warm, though and I’ll either keep them or give them to Darling Hubby if he’d like them.  I was considering making them with a mitten flap to go over the fingers, but I don’t think I have enough yardage leftover to do both flaps…Oh well.

I haven’t been spinning since the Ravellenics ended in February (geeze, that was a month ago almost!).  I went to Open Spinning at the LYS last night and finished up the 2nd skein of my X’s and O’s worsted weight Navajo plied yarn.  It felt good to finish something.  I finally washed the first skein of X’s and O’s and the skein of Ten and Tardis singles that I spun.  Now I’ve got 3 skeins of yarn drying.  I’m hoping the weather improves so I can get out on the porch to photograph.  The dark and dreary light of today isn’t great for photography…and my attempt at making my own light box was a failure.  😦  Sometimes I’m crafty, but this wasn’t one of those times!

Oh, and I have added one new project to my WIP list.  Little Fidget will be turning 4 in May and along with that he has the opportunity to go to pre-k.  I’ve already put his application in for the district pre-k lottery which will be drawn on 4-11-14.  We should hear if he got into our chosen school by the following week.  We’re really hoping that he gets into the same school his brother currently attends.  It would make life so much easier!  lol  Anyway, since school starts in 6 months I figured that would give me plenty of time to work on a “nap blanket” like I made for Bug when he went to Pre-k.  Fidget decided that he wanted something simpler than the Wheels on the Bus blanket I’d made for Bug.  In a way I’m grateful that he chose something simpler.  While the Wheels on the Bus was a cute blanket it was a lot of work and after a school year of weekly washing it didn’t hold up as well as I’d have liked. Plus, sewing all those 2 inch squares together was a right royal pain!  lol

Fidget chose a red blanket at first, then chose a red and black blanket.  I fell in love with the Moderne Baby Blanket from Mason Dixon Knitting so we scoured Ravelry together to find red and black blankets to give us ideas for 2 more colors.  We settled on black, red, white and dark grey.  So far I’m on block 6 and only messed up once, putting block 4 in the wrong place, but it will work out in the end I think with a bit of fudging.

Sadly, I don’t have any new photos.  Hopefully I’ll get something this week to share.  It’s weird, but I don’t like talking about my craft projects without photos to share!  Better get back to knitting.  Happy Spring, Everyone!

More Going for the Gold

The Olympics are still going and so am I.  I’ve been dancing with my Works In Progress and going for gold in the Flying Camel Spin event.

Here are my recent Finished Objects.

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I’ve mentioned before that I joined the Downton Abbey Mystery Knit Along hosted by Jimmy Beans Wool in January.  This was my first ever mystery knit along AND my first ever shawl.  I’m not typically a shawl person, never having seen a use for one since my style is not usually something that would go well with a shawl (I’m a t-shirt and jeans girl and I just don’t see that working with shawls.)  Anyway, I thought it would be fun to go out of my comfort zone and try something new.  I figured, worse case, that if I didn’t like the finished shawl I could either gift it or sell it.  I still have to try it out myself, so I haven’t decided what will become of it, yet.  I will admit that I have found myself searching the ravelry pattern database for more shawls…I may have created a monster!  lol

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All blocked out.

I worked on this shawl every week, following the clues posted every Sunday (aka Downton Day).  There was some drama with a 2nd week clue having a flaw, and while mine didn’t come out as it should have (because of that error) I actually like how it ended up.  This shawl is definitely one of a kind!  I did add an extra repeat of the shell lace pattern at the bottom cause I really liked it and I wanted the shawl to be a bit wider.  I ended up using 833 yrds (approx) of DK weight Patons Superwash wool in Claret.  That is nearly 300 yrds more than called for, but, I learned about how row gauge can really affect yardage.  Next time I make a big project I’ll be sure to I check my row gauge, too.  Click on either of the shawl pictures to see it’s ravelry project page.

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As for the Flying Camel Spin, I worked up this gorgeous yarn.  It is made from a mix of Corriedale, Finn and Ramboulette wool, dyed in gorgeous shades of pink, purple, brown and silver.   The roving this was spun from was dyed by Spinner’s Hill in Bainbridge, NY and purchased at Trumpet Hill Fine Yarns in Albany.   As I was plying it, it kept reminding me of berries dipped in chocolate.  Yum!  It is approximately 133 yards, 3.4oz/97g and worsted weight (10wpi).  I started this Wednesday night at the once a month Open Spinning at Trumpet Hill and finished plying it last night around 11 (and washed, spun out and hung to dry) while we were having our game night group over.

I still have one more WIP that I’ve been struggling with…my sock hop sweater.  I was good and picked it back up, sewing the the shoulders and starting the neckline…The only thing is now that I’ve knit several inches I’ve decided I don’t like how the front looks (one side flows well from the ribbed pattern, and the other looks awful.)  I think I might have to frog that portion and start again…I’m not sure I’ll find time to rip it back, knit it again and sew the arms by Sunday…)  Guess we’ll see…At least I’m happy having finished my socks, shawl and spun a yarn.

Crossing the Finish Line

Last week I’d posted about Ravellenics on Ravelry.  I’d joined the Sock Hockey event with plans to create a pair of socks using the yarn Darling Hubby brought back from Northern England.  Well, I’m happy to report that after going for the gold for a week I finally crossed the finish line this morning (after shoveling out from the Valentine’s Snowpocalypse of 2014!)

We got at least a foot of snow, but since I’m not 100% sure of that exact measurement I’ll just say we got a metric butt ton of snow.  I say this because I shoveled it…not once, but twice.  I wouldn’t have had to shovel this morning except the half of the snow blower auger broke (a shear pin broke off and was lodged in the bar) and it took Darling Hubby 2 hours to do a passable job on the driveway (and I say passable as you could pass the car from one end to the other and get out into the street) and most of the day to fix the auger (he even stayed home from work to get it done since he didn’t know when the plows were going to go back through refilling the driveway.)  We are under a state of emergency now so all cars need to be on the other side of the street so the plows can come fill us back in sometime between 8pm tonight and 8pm tomorrow.  I’m sure it will be right before I need to leave to go to the grocery store…

Anyway, here are my Vanilla Latte Socks in Wendy Roam Fusion sock yarn in the colorway Moor.  I haven’t worn them yet, but I can tell they are going to be warm.  I think I’ll wear them tomorrow.

Ravellenics Socks

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As for the pattern I did enjoy it.  My standard go to sock pattern is just a plain vanilla one with a short row heel and a standard toe.  I did a little combining of that pattern with this to come up with something I love.  I used the ribbed pattern for the cuff and the top of the foot, the short row heel from my vanilla pattern and the wedge toe from the latte pattern.  I have to say I really enjoyed that toe.  I think I might start using it for other socks.

The ribbed pattern does spice up a plain vanilla sock, even with variegated yarns like this one (I usually don’t do fancy patterns because I love striped socks and funky variegated yarns and this is just enough pattern to be noticeable and not so fancy that it is either lost in the color or takes away from it.)  It’s mindless enough that I can work on it while holding a conversation or watching TV, but gives me just a bit of a brain workout in that I have to occasionally count and take note of what row I’m on.  It was also nice that I could make the 2nd sock exactly the same as the first by counting the number of purl repeats.

As for my other entries, I’ve been plugging along.  I worked through this weeks intermediate clues for the Downton Abbey Shawl Mystery Knit-along hosted by Jimmy Beans Wool.  I believe we will get the final week’s clues with enough time to finish it before the 23rd.  It only took me a couple days to do the 6 rows for this week, so I’m hopeful.  I only hope I can make the time since my oldest will be off from school next week for winter break and when both he and his little brother are in the room together…nothing can get done!  lol

I also found some time today to work on my sock hop sweater.  I sewed the shoulders together and picked up the stitches for the turtleneck.  I have to work 6 inches and bind off and then sew on the sleeves.  I have hope that I can get that done this week, too.  I’m kinda disappointed in how the shoulders look because my color change happened right at the bind off for the back and it made a single “row” of teal on the black so when I sewed them together it was just noticeable.  More so on one shoulder than the other.  Hopefully it will be on the top and not so noticeable to everyone else.  Fingers crossed.

As for the Olympics themselves, I haven’t watched very much.  I caught a bit at Craft Night last Monday and watched a little at home on Tuesday, but that is pretty much it.

So, there you have it.  I’ve been plugging away on my knitting and I even blogged twice in 2 weeks!  I’m hoping to keep the blogging up, so be prepared for random ramblings from me.  I know I can be a bit wordy!

The Blanket’s in the Mail!

Seven months ago, on February 29th, I started a project.  That project turned out to be a massive undertaking .

It wasn’t a difficult pattern, in fact it was a pretty awesome one.  Rather than traditional granny squares, these were hexes and the greatest thing about them was that the final round attached the hexes to each other rather than having to sew each one together.  It was great.

The downside of the project was that as I was attaching the hexes, the blanket grew and grew, as blankets should, but it became unwieldy to work on…I needed an area to spread out on the floor so I could see what hexes should go where (I was attempting to not put the same color hexes next to each other).  This meant that I could no longer work on  it in my car while waiting at the school…or easily take it to the library for knit group…and, I often had trouble finding a child/pet free zone at home  in which to work on it…this meant I didn’t have much time to devote to it.  Plus, when it got down to June, July and August, it was just TOO HOT to sit bundled up under a pile of blanket…especially when I had all those ends that needed to be woven in and trimmed off.

Spring Flowers Hexagon Blanket

I ended up putting it aside for those 3 hot summer months, save a few times when I knew I could work on a few hexes.  Now, that wouldn’t have been bad, except I wasn’t just making this project for myself.  I was asked to make this for the daughter of one of my fellow January Jubilees moms.   I didn’t have a deadline and I actually feel really terrible that it took so long for me to complete it.

It was exactly 7 months to the day I started when I did the last stitch of the border and wove in those last few danging ends.  I am proud of myself for finally finishing it.  Here’s a slideshow of the finished blanket that I just put in the mail today!

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I really hope that the recipient loves it!  I gave it a wash and a dry and it fluffed up and is so soft!  I think when I finish some more projects that are currently on the hook, I might try to make some smaller baby blanket versions to sell in my shop.

Now, I’m working on 3 projects that all have a Christmas deadline!  I’m kinda stressing about getting those done.  They are also granny square blankets, but thankfully for 2 of the blankets are using the same pattern.  The squares are bigger than the hexes and I’ve done the pattern once before (Butterfly of Hope Afghan – rav link), so it’s not that difficult.  I just need to make 48 squares for the one (I’m almost halfway done with this one) and 24 for the other.  The 3rd one is a log cabin throw and is a little more intensive than the others.  Lots of color changing and I have to pay attention cause each section is different…Fingers crossed that I can get all 3 done before Christmas!

Socks, Socks and More Socks!

Once again I’ve been neglecting my blog in favor of spending time with my kids during the summer and crafting.  Just yesterday I took the boys to the Auntie Shannon’s house and we went swimming in her condo’s pool.  It was a lot of fun.  We actually haven’t been swimming all summer and both boys really enjoyed it.  Even Bug taught himself to go underwater and Fidget was enjoying jumping in when he was wearing his floaties.  Everyone was thoroughly tuckered out, including me.  I could barely focus on our roleplaying game last night and didn’t even have the focus to work on the vanilla pattern sock I’m currently working on.

We’ve also been spending a lot of time at our local library.  Every summer they have the “Summer Reading Program.”  Kids are encouraged to read so many minutes a week and they earn little prizes for their success.  The culmination is an ice cream social with a magician.   This summer the kids made dream pillows (Bug’s was a mouse in space wearing a space helmet so he didn’t eat his cheese house), worry dolls (Bug’s was a ninja), wind chimes using clay pots, and they even tasted jelly beans to vote on the best tasting.  Bug read over 25 hours!  He’s still reading, too, even though the program ended.  He’s got a stack of books that he personally checked out on his own library card!

On the crafting front, I’ve been mostly working on socks.  Since my last craft post I’ve finished 6 more pairs of sock, a Bullseye stuffy and got most of the Spring Flowers blanket done.  Here are some pictures of my complete projects.

These are a pair of belated birthday socks to myself.  For my birthday I went to the awesome LYS, Trumpet Hill, and picked out some sock yarn.  When I was there I was introduced by the wonderful staff, to Opal’s Van Gogh Sock yarn.  The awesome yarn designers took the colors from some of Van Gogh’s famous paintings and turned them into yummy yarns!  Since it was late in the month, Trumpet Hill was running low on colorways, so I picked out a skein of In Variation Nach.  I asked if there was a colorway of Starry Night, since it is one of my favorite Van Gogh paintings (we have a print hanging in our living room) and there was, but they didn’t have it in stock.  Fast forward a couple weeks and I saw on Facebook they’d received a new shipment of the Van Gogh yarn and when I asked, they said they had Starry Night!  Squee!  I rushed over that evening to pick up a skein and also came home with a skein of Vase with Sunflowers, too!  Of course I cast on the first sock as soon as I got home!

Van Gogh's Starry Night Socks

Van Gogh’s Starry Night Socks

Barbara (Knittin and Kittens) and I did a KAL (Knit Along) for these interestingly designed socks called Carousel Socks.  We both stumbled over this pattern on Pinterest and decided to give it a try together.  I’m glad we did.  These socks had very interesting construction and we ran into the same issues together, which made getting through the project a little easier.  We’ve both decided that while it was nice to learn a new technique, we probably won’t be making these again any time soon.  They are comfy, though and I do wear mine regularly.

Carousel Socks

Carousel Socks

Upon finishing the Carousel Socks, Barbara and I decided to venture into the world of Sideways Socks.  This was another pattern that had a unique construction.  We made some major modifications to the pattern after reading notes from others on Ravelry.  I’m glad we did because otherwise our socks would have come out being knee highs!  We also modified the heel to do increases and then decreases around the other side and Kitchener the seam at the top rather than cutting the yarn and rejoining.  I think we’re both agreed again that while it was nice to learn something new, we won’t be making these again any time soon!  lol

Sideways Socks

Sideways Socks

I’ve also been getting ready for a craft fair in September.  I’ve got some baby blankets and some baby bibs done, but want to have some socks as well.  I pulled out some worsted weight (thick yarn) and made these Broken Rib socks.  They will make great boot socks for someone (with a size 9 foot) here in the great northeast during the cold winter!  They are very thick, cushy and warm!

Broken Rib Socks

Broken Rib Socks

Another pair of socks for the craft fair are these Pink Camouflage socks.  These are a size 9/10.  I kind of like this colorway for myself, but I’m going to save them for selling.

Pink Camo Socks

Pink Camo Socks

I’ve also started on another pair of striped socks for the craft fair.  I have a feeling these are going to be identically striped socks…fingers crossed, anyway.  It’s the same yarn and colorway I used for the Carousel socks.  It’s called Harlequin.  I really like this color and stripes, so I may have to pick up some more to make myself a pair.  I currently plan to make this pair of socks a size 7/8 so I can have a variety of sizes.

Harlequin Socks

Harlequin Socks

I also finished a pair of socks for Darling Hubby.  His “Whether He Wants Them or Not” Socks.  Unfortunately, I don’t have a picture.  He’s worn them and they are ok.  He said they were a bit slippery and I noticed that they stretched a bit more than I thought.  I think that’s the yarn I used, which is a bit of a heavier sock/fingering weight.  It’s a learning experience.

I also finished a Bullseye amigurumi for Fidget.  He’s on a Toy Story kick.  He loves anything and everything to do with Buzz and Woody.  He has a big stuffed Woody and Buzz, little mini ones and even a talking Woody.  The one thing he didn’t have was Bullseye.  I searched Ravelry high and low for a pattern that I could turn into Bullseye and the wonderful April Draven made one called “Brown Pony” that was exactly what I’d been searching for.  Apparently it had to be renamed because apparently someone was unhappy with it’s former name.    I actually managed to whip this little guy out in 24 hours!

Woody and Bullseye

Ride Like the Wind, Bullseye!

I’ve also been working on the Spring Flowers blanket.  It’s been tough working on it since it’s been so hot…I just don’t want to sit under a hot blanket on an 80* day.  I’m getting to the finish line, though.  I’ve gotten most of the border done and then I need to weave in all those ends…I’m kinda dreading that!  lol

So, that’s it for now.  Kind of a big ol’ Finished Object Friday post…

Fraternal or Identical?

I finished another pair of socks in record time this week.  I cast on Monday night at Craft Night (because I was tired of making hexes and because I was at our agreed upon stopping point for the Carousel sock and wanted something else to work on) and had both socks completed by Sunday afternoon…less than a week.  It was kinda a belated birthday present to myself, since my birthday was Friday.

This pair (number 6 on the sock counting tally) is made with Berroco Sox yarn in color 1476.  There’s lots of purples, pinks, blues and white in this yarn.  I love doing plain vanilla sock patterns and using a self-striping yarn. I don’t have to think about what stitch comes next and it’s great for when I want a quick traveling project.   This yarn was super fun because the stripe pattern was random and I never knew what color would show up next.   I just wish the yarn was a bit softer.  It feels almost stiff in a way, even after washing and drying it.

When I started sock # 2 I didn’t have the same starting point in the yarn as the first one, so my stripes don’t line up the same, but that’s ok because I love the colors and the random differences.  Someone on Ravelry pointed out that my socks are not Identical twins, but Fraternal Twins.  I like this line of thinking!  Even though they come from the same ball of material, they are each their own unique entity.  🙂

So, I hereby present pair of socks number six (pair number 3 for me) – Berroco Sox in Purples and Pinks.

Berroco Soxs

Fraternal Twins

Berroco Sox 2

Love the random stripes!

I also finally finished Bug’s Red socks.  He was so excited for them that I didn’t want to disappoint.  I finished them at Craft Night on Monday and didn’t even have the chance to wash them because Bug wanted to wear them to school the very next morning.  The pattern I used was A Thousand Kisses and it’s a good pattern.  I didn’t have a good contrasting color yarn, so I left off the X’s and O’s and make the heel, toe and cuff the same color as the body.  I’ve found that I’m just not a fan of the heel flap and the gusset.  I much prefer the short row heel.  The heel flap is great for when I don’t want to think about what I’m doing and just work back and forth, but I love the simple look of the short row heel.  I think for the next time I make Bug a pair of socks, I’ll use the same pattern, maybe with the multi-colors this time and do a short row heel instead.

Now presenting Bug’s Red Socks:

Bug’s Red Socks

I can’t wait to start working on my next pair of socks.  I’m thinking of a pair for Darling Hubby (whether he wants a pair or not!  lol)

I Love Knitting Socks

I have a new knitting love!  I love knitting socks!  I love that they are easily transportable.  I love that I can work on them standing up while just waiting in line to pass the time or at the park while my son plays.  I love that (once you get the hang of it) they are a quick, almost instant gratification, project.

Ok, I’ll admit that I’ve only completed one pair of socks, but I’m already hooked!  They are so comfy and better than those mass produced, machine made, store bought socks.  Yes, they are a bit more expensive (the yarn alone for my first pair cost me probably around 7 bucks and I could probably get 3 pairs of machine made socks from the store for that price), but they are handmade and well worth it!  I wore mine all afternoon yesterday!  I went out Saturday and picked up some more sock yarn (some of the good stuff like Heritage Paints and Berroco Sox) and I picked up some more of the Deborah Norville Collection’s Serenity Sock yarn in red to work on a second pair that I’ll, if they come out well, give to my mom for Christmas or maybe even Mother’s Day.  I started them during the last half hour of The Walking Dead last night.  lol

So, here’s a picture of my first sock.  Pretty, isn’t it?

I made them out of Deborah Norville’s Serenity Sock yarn in a colorway called Chili that I initially bought with plans to attempt to crochet socks, but I just wasn’t feeling it.  Socks, in my opinion have to be knit. Oh, and everyone was so surprised that my first pair of socks had stripes.  They thought I was changing colors!  I had to admit I was using “cheater yarn” that makes the stripes for you.  lol

I started with a cuff down sock rather than toe up since I wasn’t comfortable with the magic loop method of knitting, using circular needles.  I just can’t get the hang of it.  I probably just need more practice.  I do have the book Two at a Time Toes Up Socks, so now that I know how the whole sock process works I may have to give it another go.

Since I did cuff down, I had to learn, what I thought of initially as a daunting task, the kitchener stitch.  After looking on You Tube, I found a great video (Kelly’s Sock Class – Kitchener Stitch) that walked me through the whole process and it was amazing just how stupidly simple it is.  There’s nothing scary about it at all!  I made a couple mistakes my first time doing it, but it’s not noticeable unless you are looking directly at the toe of my first sock and lets face it, who’s going to see it when I have my foot in a shoe?

I’m gonna admit that they aren’t perfect and I made a few mistakes that I had to fix, like tinking 10 rows at the gusset where I misread the pattern and forgot to knit every other row (I did my decrease rows one after the other – oops!)  The second sock is a smidgen longer than the first and has a slight pink tip, where the first doesn’t – oh well.  I made sure I measured multiple times to make sure they’d be the same length, but apparently my measuring skills need some work.  lol  I slid the first sock on my foot and measured, but didn’t do that for the 2nd…Guess that will probably be my go to technique when making socks for myself.   The first sock has a couple stitches on the toe where I purled off when I should have knitted off for the kitchener stitch…but, what are you gonna do?

So, there you have it, my new knitting love!  I hope to keep making more socks as they are fun to make…I just hope I don’t start having “second sock syndrome!”  That would be the pits!